The New Jersey Department of Labor last week announced it has issued 71 stop-work orders in the three years since Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law expanding its power to halt work at a worksite and has recovered nearly $1 million in back wages owed to 235 workers. The most common violations leading to stop-work orders are employers not having workers’ compensation insurance or misclassifying employees as independent contractors, according to the department.
The department has shut down work sites of all types, including construction sites, restaurants, an internet radio station and medical offices. However, 57 of the 71 stop-work orders issued over the past three years involved construction jobs. Usually, stop-work orders are resolved in a few days and are often resolved on the spot, according to the department.
Most recently, the department announced a stop-work order against Maya Concrete LLC after finding five employees were misclassified as independent contractors. Maya, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, was performing work at a warehouse under construction in Freehold, New Jersey.
In addition, the department reported on a separate independent contractor misclassification penalty that took effect last year requiring employers to pay misclassified workers an additional 5% of their gross wages from the previous 12 months. Under this law, the department has recovered $92,500 divided among 100 workers.